As the General Election trundles on, my fear is only increasing that once again I’m going to have to watch an all-night programme which would make great drama, but makes me fear for the future of the planet.
I can recall knowing that from the moment I heard David Cameron would be holding an in-out referendum on the European Union that we’d end up voting out (I can recall the exact conversation where I said it, months before, and considered whether I wanted to do something about it) just the same as I didn’t bother staying up for the US election coverage because I was resigned to a Trump victory.
This time it’s different of course: both of those victories, as someone I was expressing my fears to noted, because the ‘oh god no’ results were both right wing and the result I fear this time is staunchly not.
But without wanting to sound like a column from immediately post-Brexit, I’m still not entirely confident we’re working in a left-right world at the moment. Brexit and Trump were both tails of the unattainable, but nice, outcomes.
A vote for Brexit was a vote to have our cake and eat it (according to the polls) and would be simple to do, the reality perhaps not so much. A vote for Trump was a vote to Make America Great Again – and I’d recommend a listen to the Pessimist’s Archive podcast on exactly when the ‘great’ times were for a precis of how realistic that might be.
This time we’ve got two dreamy stories set against one another: a magic money tree of nationalisation and a free owl for everyone, or a dull, strong and stable Brexit which will somehow deliver us into the Utopia Brexiteers imagined when bus liveries were but a twinkle.
What this election should have been about was honest conversations, but it hasn’t been. We’ve continued the great traditions of kicking difficult conversations and decisions down the road while the media have reported more on the management of the election and the polls than on what each of the parties promises to do (or what they’ve done before).
With a conversation that’s not moved on much since 2015, should we be surprised if the result hasn’t either?